416 ALASKAN GLACIER STUDIES
that it has not been represented as such on some of the maps; for it is stagnant, moraine-veneered, and vegetation-covered, ice showing only here and there where the moraine is slumping (PI. CLVIE) as the unstable foundation slowly melts. Quite in contrast to the ice cliff portion, there is no discharge of icebergs from any part of this moraine-covered margin. It is nearly twelve and a half miles around the periphery of the Miles Glacier front, passing along the ice cliff, then, in a great curve, around the margin of the moraine-covered bulb.
As seen from the railway at Miles Glacier station, the Miles Glacier is less impressive than the Childs, which is nearer. The real difference in magnitude may be appreciated from Fig. 60, which shows the Miles and Childs Glaciers with sketches of several of the larger glaciers of the United States and Canada, on the same scale, superimposed upon them.
Observations by the Russians. Several explorers have quoted the Copper River natives as saying that in early times, before the Russian explorations, Miles and Childs Glaciers were united, with the Copper River flowing underneath. While not at all improbable, there are no known facts to verify this.
As in the case of Childs Glacier the date of the Russian observations quoted by Grewingk in 1850 is not known; nor is it known whether these are Grewingk's own observations or those of some one else. The Russians who are known to have gone up Copper River are Nagaief in 1788,1 and several others up to the time of Serebrannikoff in 1847.a The observer to whom Grewingk refers may possibly have been a sailor like Nagaief rather than a trader like Serebrannikoff and some of the others, for he gives the thickness of the ice in fathoms, not in feet.
Grewingk3 stated in 1850 that "the ravines filled with ice twenty fathoms thick are B. mile wide at the river, and in some places the ice is covered with earth in which grow mosses, berry bushes, and the alder. Frequently we can see the icebergs4 covered with soil and a growth of green bushes and ripe berries.
"Rapids have been formed above the canyon where the current of the water has cut through the glaciers . . . and beyond these rapids no more ice is found, and the sea breezes and the fogs do not reach."
This seems to be a description of the stagnant, northern part of Miles Glacier at Abercrombie Rapids and perhaps of Allen Glacier, above which there are no other large glaciers that the Russian explorer would have seen from the river.
Observations by Army Officers and Government Geologists. Abercrombie spent July and August, 1884, near Miles Glacier, m airing a map, taking a number of photographs, afterwards reproduced in Allen's report of the army expedition of 1885, and recording some facts concerning the glacier.6 Its middle portion was severely crevassed, for in
i Bancroft, H. H., History of Alaska, Vol, XXXTTT, San Francisco, 1886, p. 187.
i Journal of the Russian Geographical Society, St. Petersburg, 1840, translated by S. N. Buynitzi, and quoted by H. T. Allen, in NarratiTes of Explorations in Alaska, Senate Kept. 1023, 56th Congress, 1st Session, Washington, 1000, pp. 412-413; Dall, W. H., Alaska and Its Resources, Boston, 1870, p. 343.
* Grewingk, C., Beitrag zur Kenntniss der Orographischen und Geognostischen Beschaffenheit der Nordwest-Kliste Amerikas mit den Anliegenden Tnfldn, Verhandl. Huss. Kaiserl. Mineral. Gesell. zu St. Petersburg, 1848 und 1849, pp. 84-5.
* Probably meaning the glacier rather than icebergs.
ĞAbercrombie, W. R., Supplementary Expedition into the Copper River Valley, Alaska, 1884, Narratives of Explorations in Alaska, Washington, 1900, pp. 386, 389-390.